The best A/V receivers for 2021

For every impressive home theater system, there’s a workhorse receiver at the helm. The best receivers will brilliantly reimagine your A/V equipment, delivering mighty sound to your speakers and breathtaking visuals to your TV.If you’re interested in gaming, watching videos, or listening to music, you probably already have some concept of what an A/V receiver is. Although we consider the Marantz SR8015 the best receiver on the market, there are still plenty of options available. With a lifetime of experience in the electronics community reviewing TVs, amplifiers, A/V receivers, and more, we’ve put together a current list of the best A/V receivers you can find.Why you should buy this: It’s got plenty for home cinema, but its audio capabilities are just as compelling a reason to go with it.Who it’s for: Those who want to make sure music sounds as good as any movie or show does.Why we picked the Marantz SR8015:This is a pricey option, but Marantz made sure to improve upon past A/V receivers by covering otherwise empty bases from prior models. The SR8015 is equipped with an array of A/V technologies to make it fit in any home theater environment. Starting with all things audio, it’s got Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, DTS:X Pro, IMAX Enhanced, Auro 3D, plus the ability to connect a turntable for some vinyl playback or to stream from the likes of Spotify, Tidal, Pandora, AirPlay 2, among others. You also get access to Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, plus the ability to do multiroom setups through HEOS.It’s compatible with hi-res audio files and lossless formats that go up to 24-bit/192 kHz, and you can stream them to the receiver from a USB or network storage drive. The 11.2 channel system can run in 7.2.4 or 9.2.2 configurations when using all the channels. You can also keep some free-to-play music in different zones, where you get up to two extra. There are 140 watts of output per channel, so Marantz built the SR8015 to handle just about any speaker arrangement you have in mind. The Audyssey MultEQ XT32 support only helps the cause further with its room-correction technology to compensate for acoustics inside.On the video front, the SR8015 is no less capable. It brings in 8K video at 60Hz (including upscaling) to go with 4K/120Hz, HDR (HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dynamic HDR, Dolby Vision), and HDMI-eARC that lets you pass full resolution surround sound from your TV through to the receiver. There are 8 HDMI inputs, plus 3 outputs, including useful add-ons like a Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) to accommodate gamers who need them.There’s a lot to work with here because Marantz left little to chance, and that bodes well for how long this receiver may last in the years to come. We’re interested to see what future firmware updates might bring to the table, should Marantz’s SR8015 stay relevant after an eventual successor appears.Why you should buy this: It fits easily within most people’s budgets, yet the Sony STR-DH590 still provides nearly every feature found on much more expensive receivers.Who it’s for: Those who want a full-fledged home theater system without spending thousands.Why we picked the Sony STR-DH590:When it comes to A/V receivers, reducing your budget invariably means reducing the number of features. The key is to preserve as many of the features that most people value. The Sony STR-DH590 manages to do this in a stellar fashion by supporting all of the latest audio and video formats, including 4K and HDR (HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision). It also comes with its own acoustic calibration circuitry, which takes the guesswork out of setting up your speakers to the right levels.For utmost audio fidelity, the DH590 is equipped with Sony’s Pure Direct mode for the cleanest sound the receiver has to offer. It does so by disabling the 590’s front display panel, eliminating unnecessary component noise from escaping into the mix of whatever content you’re consuming. Keep in mind that engaging Pure Direct also bypasses several of the receiver’s internal equalizers. It’s a great feature for listening to music through analog sources, but if you’re a fan of big cinema sound, it’s probably something we’d leave alone when watching a movie.Although the DH590 has Bluetooth for direct music streaming from a compatible smartphone or tablet, the receiver isn’t internet-connected, so you won’t be able to stream music without a Bluetooth device. That being said, Sony’s high-res audio support kicks in when you’re beaming tunes to the receiver, which adds a little more belly and top-end to your sound.In terms of main source connections, the Sony STR-DH590 only has four HDMI inputs. While you won’t be powering any rock concerts, it’s more than enough receiver for a very satisfying home theater experience.Why you should buy this: It has a dizzying array of modern features like Dolby Atmos, 4K, HDR, and streaming services, plus a rare phono input for turntable types.Who it’s for: Those who want the latest and greates
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